SEATTLE – As more details emerge about the three elderly Emery Brothers and their alleged extensive child porn collection and other evidence, experts say now is the time to talk to your kids about child predators.
“Just to think it was in my neighborhood and I didn’t know it was there. I don’t think anyone knew it was there,” said parent Tiffany.
Q13 News asked Seattle parents a tough question. How do you start that tough conversation about sex predators with your child?
“When I think about conversations like that, I’m just going to tell myself to suck it up and do it,” said Tiffany.
“Hopefully giving them ... clear tools about who to look for and if something should tip them off if something’s amiss,” said another parent.
Reputable online resources like RAINN or The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network offers advice.
Tip 1: Talk about body parts and which ones to keep private.
“Kids are naturally inclined to be loving and friendly,” said one parent.
RAINN says they need to know boundaries.
Tip 2: No secrets so if something happens, kids know they can come to you.
“These are children, they’re scared, they’re traumatized, they may have been threatened,” said Shepherd’s Counseling Services Executive Director Janice Palm.
Tip 2: Tell them it’s OK to say no. Palm says this tip is especially important because 85-90% of abused kids know their abuser.
“As unpleasant as it is, and as hard as it is, these are our family members, these are our neighbors,” said Palm.
Tip 4: Listen and validate their feelings even if the story is uncomfortable or hard to understand.
“It’s up to the adults to notice something funny. Feel that funny feeling in their gut, act on it ask questions, speak up,” said Palm.
She says parents should advocate for their kids starting with dialogue.
“Conversations like that you have to do it because the end result is better than not having that conversation at all,” said Tiffany.
And parents should watch out for changes in behavior.
“We’ll do our best to keep our eyes on them, too,” said one parent.
Palm says there are warning signs for parents like another adult who takes an unnatural interest in a child or someone who finds opportunities to be alone with children.